Monthly Archives: February 2017

Waterfall and Agile: An Infographic Comparison of Two Development Methodologies

If you are new to Software Development, it is important to know that there are different schools of thought on the best way to turn your application idea into a reality. In an ideal sense, different methodologies align with different project characteristics that are usually defined by the person or organization paying for the work. However, Segue has found that it is rare that a methodology can be followed in its ideal form, and it takes a hybrid approach and some real-world sensibilities to ensure that your development team can bring the customer’s application to life: within budget, timeline, and meeting or exceeding their expectations.

As a customer of software development services, the following infographic highlights some common project characteristics and how two well-known software methodologies align with them. It would be wrong to promise that you could “Frankenstein” together a development plan by picking from the below list, but this could help you determine what project aspects are most important to you, and which methodology better aligns with your needs.

Connecting to Users Through Emotional Web Design

The foundation of a strong, emotional connection stems from being able to relate to a certain subject. This same principle can be used for making an emotional connection with users on a website. To create a more personal user experience, web designers can use specific design components to engage emotional connections. These components should be refined specifically to the type of brand and their target audience. The components typically associated with emotional web design are imagery, colors, and tone of voice.

Imagery

During an initial first glance, users will quickly decide if a website is visually appealing. Websites with large photo banners can quickly engage a user. In order to ensure that this first encounter is a positive one, brands need to use images that are relatable to their users. People feel more empathic during face-to-face interactions and this applies to photos as well. Users are drawn to faces and connect more when they are able to recognize themselves within a photo, creating an emotional connection.

Colors

Colors play into emotions psychologically and play an important role in setting the tone for a website. Picking the appropriate colors for a website can help elicit a desired response from users. For instance, colors like red and yellow can make users feel anxious or in a hurry and they wouldn’t be suitable colors for a site whose target is to draw users to read content. Blues and greens seem to be a safe bet when appealing to users globally, but even shades of these colors has specific notions tied to them. For example, light and dark blue are considered calming, but dark blue is also a good color to showcase strength and security. Keeping in mind the specific emotional connections users have with colors will help you design a site that better connects more with your target users.

Tone of Voice

Words deliver a message, but tone of voice dictates how that message is received. The simple wording of a header title can form the personality of a website. What tone of voice should a brand’s website communicate to users– professional, empathetic, comedic? The answer should be directly related to what the users are coming to the site for.

Emotional Web Design in Action

Recently, the design team at Segue Technologies has been working on a new project for a company called Caring Village, which is a new, wholly owned subsidiary of Segue Technologies. The Caring Village brand aims to make it easier for caregivers to communicate, collaborate, and coordinate care for their loved one. The website is a collection of resources (including articles and product reviews), while the app is a communication tool that connects family members and friends caring for a loved one. In building the Caring Village website from the ground up, we started with colors and branding, which flowed into the design of the website and apps. Knowing that this is already an emotional subject, our goal as a team has been to put a lot of effort into gaining user connections and maintaining user’s trust with an emotional web design. Here’s how these elements came into play for Caring Village.

Imagery

Throughout caringvillage.com, we use large photo banners with people who emulate our users. This is especially important for the article pages because we want users to value and trust the information we are giving them. By showcasing photos that are relatable, we hope to grasp user’s empathy and personally connect with them. We want the imagery to show that we understand, we care, and we are here to help.

Color

The colors chosen for Caring Village are green, blue, and purple.

  • Green: symbolizes health, new beginnings, and wealth. Green is the easiest on the eyes and should be used to relax and create balance in a design. It is a great color to use if a company wants to depict growth and security, or to inspire possibility.
  • Blue: evokes feelings of calmness and spirituality as well as security and trust. Seeing the color blue causes the body to create chemicals that are calming. Light blues give a more relaxing, friendly feel.
  • Purple: associated with creativity, royalty, and wealth. Purple is often used to soothe or calm a viewer.

 Tone of Voice

We wanted Caring Village’s tone to sound empathetic, knowledgeable, encouraging, and innovative. Some of the information on the Caring Village site discusses subjects that can be very sensitive to people who are caring for a sick loved one. In writing our content, we try hard to maintain a tone of voice that expresses to our users that we understand and value their needs.

At the end of the day our main goal is to make a connection between the user and the website. When taking into consideration images, colors, and tone of voice on a website, always put the users first.

Mobile Website Design: Key Elements to Having a Great UX Design

According to The Social Skinny, there are over 1.2 billion people accessing the web from their mobile phones. This number is continually growing, ensuring the progression and need for mobile websites. The truth is, most consumers won’t get their hair cut by you, go to your gym, or eat at your restaurant if they are unable to find what they are looking for on your mobile website. For this reason, usability on mobile sites is more crucial than ever.

It is important for mobile designers to have an understanding of what leads to a great user experience. A design that focuses on target users, minimizes distractions, and boosts desirability will ensure your users’ experiences will be positive ones.

Focus On Target Users

The first step in creating any mobile website is to specifically define who the target users are. A great approach to this is creating user personas. In my experience of using user personas, I have found that they help boost productivity in all of my projects. Creating user personas helps me become more acquainted with the target user, making it easier for me to create a design based around their needs.

Clarifying user needs,the base of your UX design requirements, beforehand using User Personas helps to diminish the chance of last-minute major design changes. Users will be happy and engaged with your mobile website when the design of the site aligns with expectations of the individual users.

Minimize Distractions

Users want to get to from point A to point B to find the content they are looking for quickly. Avoid designing any visual elements that could divert a user’s attention. Below is a list of best practices for minimizing distractions:

  • Simplify the Layout: Simplifying a mobile site’s layout will enable users to easily discover the content they are searching for. Remember: Negative space (or whitespace) is not a bad thing. A spacious layout helps users digest information more easily. Also, use effective placement for all elements. Key elements such as the navigation and search bar need to be the most accessible.
  • Be Consistent: Consistency in color will also boost usability and keep layouts simple. Color is a great visual cue in mobile design and with such a small screen, a cohesive color palette is vital for guiding users throughout your site. For example, having the same color call-to-action buttons is a must in all my design projects because it allows a user to always know what is clickable.
  • Show Hierarchy. You can minimize the complexity of your mobile site by having clear titles, marking keywords in bold or italic, and having full width buttons. This is a great way to showcase content and organize the site’s structure, allowing important content to become more distinguishable.
  • Use Effective Writing: Use language that is understandable to the site’s target users. A great example of this is the Virgin America’s mobile website. They have a hamburger menu to house their whole navigation, but below that they have listed the two main navigational points – Check in & Manage. These are short concise words that are instantly recognizable by their users. Another way to minimize distractions in writing is by breaking taglines into short key phrases. This allows for a more scannable layout, enabling users to find what they are searching for quicker.

Boost Desirability

Ultimately, when a mobile website’s design is user-centered, it becomes more valuable to your target users. It is all about minimizing distractions and simplifying the layout to make your site showcase important content. By designing for your target audience’s needs, you will promote positive user engagement. Users who can easily navigate through your site to what they need will continue to come back- and that’s a win-win situation for everyone.d